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  • LSD Overdose Or Bad Trip? | Risks, Effects, & Treatment

    LSD Overdose Or Bad Trip? | Can You Overdose On LSD?

    Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, is a hallucinogenic drug known for its psychedelic properties. 

    The effects of LSD can be severe, especially in the case of a “bad trip.” While there is little evidence that you can actually overdose on LSD, taking too much can worsen pre-existing health issues or cause erratic behavior.

    Can You Overdose On LSD?

    Unlike other drugs such as benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and opioids, LSD is not likely to cause a life-threatening overdose when too much is taken. 

    Although taking too much LSD may not technically result in an overdose, a bad trip may occur. These intense acid trips can cause extreme effects that have caused emergency department visits and other issues. 

    Effects Of LSD

    LSD alters perception via serotonin receptors. The effects of LSD use can last 12 hours or longer, depending on the dose taken. While some may only take micrograms, others may ingest higher doses to increase the effects.

    LSD is also known as:

    Many who take LSD claim to have out-of-body experiences. Depending on the dose of LSD taken, one can experience a wide range of psychedelic effects. 

    Side Effects Of A Bad Trip

    Excessive drug use and high doses of LSD can increase the possibility of a negative reaction. Those who experience a bad trip while on LSD may develop the following side effects: 

    • sensory overload
    • convulsions 
    • thoughts of suicide
    • flashbacks
    • fluctuations in body temperature
    • feelings of deep fear
    • psychosis
    • paranoia 
    • mood swings
    • excessive sweating
    • hyperthermia

    Those who struggle with mental health issues should consult a doctor before experimenting with any drug, especially drugs classified as hallucinogens.  If you have a mental health problem, taking LSD can cause severe psychological issues or episodes. 

    Risks Of A Bad Trip

    Taking other hallucinogens with LSD, including psilocybin mushrooms and mescaline, can increase the likelihood of a bad trip. 

    When a bad trip happens, a person can see and hear things others may not. The person might act like someone completely different, or even a frightening version of themselves. This can lead to dangerous behaviors.

    Hallucinations & Strange Behavior

    Strong and strange hallucinations may happen during a bad trip, which may cause abnormal or dangerous behavior like jumping off cliffs or walking into traffic. This negligent behavior is caused by the hallucinogenic properties of LSD. 

    Having a bad trip can be just as life-threatening as an overdose. This is because of the lapse in judgment from taking too much LSD.

    Treating LSD Intoxication & Abuse

    When addressing severe LSD intoxication and toxicity, going to a stress-free and safe environment may be recommended. This ensures the person having a bad trip won’t be a danger to themselves or others.

    If persistent drug use causes social or behavioral issues that put the person or their loved one at risk, addiction treatment may be recommended. 

    Substance abuse treatment can be tailored to your individual needs and accommodate any addiction, from hallucinogen abuse to other substance use disorders.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Drug Policy - LSD Fact Sheet
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Hallucinogen Drug Facts
    National Institute of Health - Protein Structure Reveals How LSD Affects the Brain
    National Library of Medicine - LSD Overdoses: Three Case Reports

    Medically Reviewed by
    Davis Sugar, M.D.
    on July 8, 2022
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